My name is Jennifer. Here’s how Our Lady of Guadalupe Pregnancy Center changed my life.
In 2013, at the tender age of 18, I found out I was pregnant. I was so scared, nervous and ill prepared. I was torn between wanting to be a vivacious teenager and taking responsibility for another life. Another fear was not being able to support a baby. I was jobless and a college student. My mother’s friend suggested I go to Our Lady of Guadalupe Pregnancy Center and seek services. As soon as I walked in the doors, I felt warmth from every person in the organization. We all want to provide everything we can for our children and I knew now that mine would have needed support.
One of the first questions the center asked was if I intended to baptize my child. It was of great importance to me to baptize my daughter because I wanted her to have the relationship she deserves with God from the get go. A couple of months later on March 29th, 2014, Ava was born. When Ava was a month old I brought her to the center for the first time. I was overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and care they gave to my daughter. Ava always had clothing when needed as well as diapers and other necessities when I was not able to provide them myself. I was a young mother and everything went okay for a while.
Unfortunately, not all stories are completely happy. Nine months after Ava was born, her father fell victim to our nation’s drug epidemic and went to prison. I was a lost, confused 20 year old girl who harbored a lot of resentment for my circumstance. I dealt with my problems by drinking pretty heavily and got into relationships with guys who were physically and emotionally abusive . My mother was a life saver. She picked up all of my slack for Ava. I still thank her to this day for how amazing she has been. My selfishness and reckless tendencies started to get me into some minor legal trouble but that didn’t scare me. The center reached out and supported me in these troubles as they knew I was in a bad spot. I was spiraling out of control. Nobody could predict how bad it would become for me.
One night a guy I considered my friend invited me to a party. There was no party. My “friend” and one of his buddies took me somewhere way out of town. That night I was roofied, drugged with other substances, raped by both men, and was beaten beyond recognition. I was unconscious for 14 hours. I woke up the next day in a trailer park with my former friend in my car’s driver’s seat. I couldn’t move. The grey sweatshirt I was wearing was completely brown from the blood coming from my shattered nose and cuts all over my body. All I could think about was staying alive for my daughter. I begged my “friend” to take me to the hospital. I reached in my glove compartment and offered him the title to my car if he took me. He promised he would. Instead he left me in my car and went to a casino. I have never felt less cared about in my whole life. Finally, someone in the neighborhood found me and called 911. I was rushed to the hospital.
As soon as the members of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Gift of Pregnancy Center heard what happened, Jill and Bernie visited me in the hospital. I was so thankful to know that people still cared about me even though I had essentially hit one of the lowest lows I have ever experienced. Selfless caring doesn’t even begin to explain what they did for me.
I was a shell of the person I once was. The trauma I had gone through was unbearable. I decided to date a guy with a lengthy criminal record who stood up for me on social media after my trauma. This guy had a severe alcohol addiction. It enabled my binge drinking to continue. I moved to his house for two months and left my daughter in my mother’s care because I was not capable of being a responsible mother. The drinking became more and more frequent. I was slowly becoming groomed by him to think he was the only person who truly cared about me.
Soon after that, he tricked me into getting into his car while he committed a series of crimes around the city. I was petrified. He said he would kill himself or others so I stayed with him to convince him not to. I knew that the seriousness of his crimes was going to get me into a great deal of trouble but it was worth it to me at the time as long as no one was hurt. I ended up in jail and spent a yearr under house arrest for not testifying against him. This is when I decided that I was not meant to have a life like this. More importantly, my daughter deserved a mother who was resilient, loving; someone to nurture her capabilities.
I am proud to say that I have COMPLETELY changed my life over the past 3 years. OLG Pregnancy Center was instrumental in facilitating these changes. I needed to be reached out to and they did so with no falter. They saw something better for me even at my lowest points. They gave me the spiritual and emotional guidance to make something of myself. For that, I am forever thankful. I would not be the woman who makes great strides in the face of adversity if the center didn’t give me the advice and confidence I so desperately needed to make Ava’s and my life better. The Guadalupe Pregnancy Center provided many opportunities to grow. They always stressed the importance of leaving my troubles in God’s hands and having true faith. I am happy to say that my life is slowly but surely evolving.
On June, 19th I received all my sacraments, entering the Catholic church. I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by Jill. She devoted many hours helping me fully grasp all the tenets of my faith, answering countless questions about God, explaining the significance Catholicism plays in my life. When I was baptized, I never expected to feel so complete. My faith has blossomed and given me a whole new sense of self. I finally know how much God loves me!
Besides my new found relationship with God, next fall I will complete my associate degree in Human Services and Social Work. I aspire to help others like OLG PC has helped me. Currently I’m working as a receptionist and for a grocery ordering service. Ava is a 1st grader. We love working on her schoolwork together and finding as many outdoor adventures as possible. She is the sweetest girl. God gave me the best gift I could ask for in being her mother.
I can’t thank OLG PC enough for inspiring me to be a better person. The pour immense love, effort and care into every every woman, child and family they work with. I’m honored to be 1 of their volunteers.
We are all dealt different cards in life. Our Lady of Guadalupe Pregnancy Center has taught me that no matter the circumstance as a mother and young woman, you can always make a comeback. I am just one success story. They have the ability and the faith to continue helping so many more. My only wish for them is to know how much they’ve impacted me and for them to thrive.